Jordan Rudess on Listening

WRITTEN April 26, 2018 Author: Rich Atkins
At Improving Communications, we ask professional musicians to tell us about their “money maker;” their ability to listen and interact well with others. We ask these gifted artists to teach us more about listening so that in business, we can use similar practices to be more successful. Below is what Jordan Rudess had to say about listening in his profession.
Jordan Rudess is DJordan Rudessream Theater’s virtuoso keyboardist / multi-instrumentalist. He has worked with many artists including Liquid Tension Experiment, David Bowie, Steven Wilson, the Dixie Dregs, Enrique Iglesias, Tony Williams, Jan Hammer and the Paul Winter Consort.

Listening is the ability to really focus on the audio that you are hearing.

I make my living by creating sound.I have perfect pitch. As a musician, I have to produce sounds that express thoughts and feelings and try to give the audience a particular experience. This process means that I’m always evaluating the sounds that I’m creating as well as the ones I’m listening to.

If I’m orchestrating a piece of music, it has to do with how the sound colors fit together. If I’m creating a sound it has to do with the effect on the listener’s senses.

It’s important to be in a quality listening environment to be able to listen effectively.If you are in a noisy room, or there are many distractions, it just means that you might not be hearing all the elements clearly to listen at the highest level. If I’m listening to a person talk and I really want to internalize and be responsive to what they are saying, the environment needs to be positive—few distractions and low background noise level are very helpful.

Learning how to quiet the mind is a good start for listening. It takes focus and patience. Coming out of your self-ego is also important to be able to give value to what is around you. I would encourage a person to pay close attention to the sound and give it extra attention.

Practice sitting still or listening to an orchestral piece of music from start to finish on a good sound system. Try to hear the different instruments. Next time you are in a restaurant, close your eyes and just listen to the sounds around you. Try to focus in on the different conversations and sounds around you. Play a musical instrument and focus on the sound it is making. Is it pleasant? How does it affect your senses?

My first solo album was called Listen. My whole life is about listening. It is one of the most important things we can learn to do as human beings.

This content is a part of our Customer Service curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.

Other Listening Articles:

Guitarist Steve Morse on Listening – IC Interview

Nick Beggs — Listening Means Understanding Relationships – IC Interview

Kasim Sultan: One Word — Focus – IC Interview

Arnold McCuller — Listening for the Spirit – IC Interview

Musician Carl Palmer on Listening – IC Interview

Rod Morgenstein — Listening: One Cohesive Unit – IC Interview

Nick Beggs — Listening means Understanding Relationships – IC Interview

Pat Mastelotto— Listening Requires Concentration – IC Interview

Simon Phillips— Listening Outside Yourself – IC Interview

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